Are you thinking of getting on the Paleo diet for weight loss?
You’re 248 lbs. and searching like crazy for ways to lose weight. You’ve already tried several weight loss programs that didn’t work. And now you’re here to read and learn about another type of diet.
The truth is Paleo is not a “weight loss diet” – it’s a form of eating healthy and nutritious suited to our genes – which, for some people involves weight loss as a small piece of the bigger picture. If you’re new to the Paleo diet, read this by Ryan E. Taylor about Paleo for beginners.
I know, weight loss is a goal among many Paleo dieters, and it’s definitely very motivating. But you need to understand that weight loss is not the perfect measurement of your health.
Before we move into understanding how effective the Paleo diet is for weight loss, I’ll tell you what to expect while being on the Paleo diet, pitfalls to avoid and quick tips on Paleo weight loss.
Paleo weight loss basics
Okay, here are 7 quick tips on how to tweak Paleo for weight loss (keep in mind that each body is different, and you may need to play around to find something that works).
- Eat lean protein and healthy saturated fat at every meal. Do not skip fats in fear of putting on calories.
- Eat at least one or more fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal.
- Never starve. You have to work with your body to lose weight, not go against it. It is harder to lose weight while being hungry.
- Don’t stop taking carbs for weight loss, just lessen it. Figure out how many carbs work for you.
- Be physically active. A walk or swim every day works as an option.
- Eat less Paleo desserts; focus more on fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. Eat a limited amount of nuts and dried fruits.
- It’s not necessary to count the calories but maintaining a food journal every day helps you in case you are overweight.
What to expect when on the Paleo diet for weight loss
Once you’re strictly doing all the 7 tips mentioned above, what will the Paleo weight loss look like?
Paleo weight loss will not be a straight diagonal carve from your initial weight to your goal weight. Here what’s to expect during the first few weeks.
- In the first week, you will see a rapid weight loss of 5 -10 lbs. This is motivating, but it won’t last forever – this is mainly water weight.
What is the reason for so much water weight? Per gram of carbohydrate in the body holds 3 – 4 grams of water. So the fewer carbohydrates you are consuming, the more water weight loss you are having.
- After the rapid weight loss in Week 1, weight loss slows down from Week 2 but continues slowly and steadily. A chart below shows a person’s Paleo weight loss over 4 weeks starting at 280 lbs.
Don’t get frustrated when the slowing down of weight loss happens.
It hasn’t slowed down because you’re doing anything wrong or the Paleo diet isn’t working but because this is the way Paleo weight loss works, where you lose water weight initially. If you continue to lose the water weight through all weeks, then I have to believe your goal is to become a human raisin.
After the initial weight loss, you will continue to lose weight at around 1 – 2 lbs per week but that is not signify losing 0.2 – 0.3 lbs every day. Instead, the graph should be in a general downwards direction over long-term.
The panic on Paleo weight loss
Why does the graph on Paleo weight loss have such a bumpy pattern? The first day people don’t lose weight, they panic, assuming something’s wrong or the diet is useless.
There are several reasons for the upwards fluctuation of the graph if taken on the daily or hourly basis (or bumpy pattern) but nothing to do with fat gain or fat loss.
- Fluctuation of hormone level. Women tend to retain more water weight at certain times of the month.
- A bowel movement can make a difference of 1 – 2 lbs on a scale.
- If you weigh once in the morning before breakfast and then in the evening again, don’t get discouraged if you’ve gained few pounds. It’s normal with a full stomach.
- Weighing on the scale with sweaters, pants, belt buckles, clothes will obviously make you weigh few pounds higher.
- Consuming salt can cause water retention and thus a slight weight gain.
- Birth control pills, medicines and steroids can cause water retention.
A weight loss scale measures not only the fat but also muscle weight. So, if you’re doing any kind of strength training exercises (you should!), the weight scale or graph may go up. It doesn’t mean you’re getting fat but means you’re gaining muscle (and that’s good!).
So stay away from the stress of daily weight loss on a scale. Focus on your entire body instead.
If you don’t agree to the fact that the Paleo diet for weight loss works do share your story in the comments below and let me know why you think Paleo weight loss doesn’t work for you.